Berkshire County public school district enrollment has been declining over the last several decades. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the question has arisen on how the pandemic has impacted the enrollment.
Existing Student Enrollment
As of October 1, 2020, the student population in the Berkshire County public school districts for K-12 was 14,258. On October 1, 2019, the enrollment was 14,748. This is a loss of 490 students, or -3.3%, in one year. This loss occurred in all but the smallest districts, as Farmington River, Florida, and Hancock all experienced slight increases, and Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School stayed level. The remaining school districts mostly saw a decline of 0-5%; however, a few districts saw steeper declines, such as North Adams (-7.5%), Richmond (-9.1%), and Savoy (-16.7%).
In looking at the individual grades, Kindergarten and Second grades saw the largest declines at -13.7% and -9.2%. This would indicate that many parents in the youngest grades chose to keep their children at home. There was also a significant decline for Fifth and Seventh grade, which saw a 9.5% and 9.7% decline respectively. Elementary school grades (K-5) saw an overall 6.3% decline, while middle schools grades (6-8) saw a 4.2% decline. High school grades (9-12) went up in 2021 by 58 students (1.2%.)
Actual vs Projected
While the county lost 490 students in K-12, it was projected to lose 269 students. This projected loss is mostly due to decreasing births and out-migration. This results in a difference on 221 less students enrolled that projected. These 221 students can be assumed to be attending school through a non-Berkshire County virtual school, attending a private school, or are being homeschooled. Many of these 221 students will likely return to the school districts when the pandemic is over.
What is not yet clear is the number of students who have moved into the area and where they are attending. In a few months the state will release additional data that includes home school and private school numbers. From that data, we will be able to get a more complete picture of how the pandemic has impacted public school enrollment.
|Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School||216||372||372||378|
|Farmington River Reg||121||81||89||75|
|Hoosac Valley Regional||1506||1038||1005||1012|
|Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational Technical||500||507||506||506|
Source: MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, BRPC School Projections V20